5 Things to consider when employing staff for the first time

August 10, 2018



When you start a business you are everyone to the company, the MD, the secretary, the finance manager and the cleaner. However should your business go in the direction you want it to, there will come a point where you need an extra helping hand, or two! This is great as it means your business is growing and you can employee personnel to lessen your load.


But before you pop up that job advert, there are some very important things you need to consider:


  1. Additional costs


You are looking to employ a member of staff, so it is safe to say that you are making enough profit to warrant the wage of additional personnel. However, many forget all the added costs associated with paying staff and these must be factored when setting your recruitment budget. Additional costs include, but are not limited to:


  • 13.8% employers national insurance liability

  • Pensions costs, the cost of which is due to rise again in April 2019

  • Employer’s liability insurance premiums


You must also, by law, inform HMRC that you have become an employer. This cannot be done more than 4 weeks before you pay your new member of staff.


2. Employment laws


There are rules and regulations on how and when to submit your payroll electronically to HMRC but, thankfully a great payroll software (plus great accountants like PBT) can relieve you of that pressure. But how much do you know about the nitty gritty areas of employment law?


When employing staff do you know the law on:


  • Unfair dismissal?

  • Holiday entitlement?

  • Flexible working?

  • Notice periods?

  • Statutory leave?

  • National living wage?


It is imperative to have a strong understanding of all employment laws to ensure you are fully compliant.


3. Contracts, procedures and policies


Setting out clear documentation when it comes to employment is one of the most important things you need to invest time and effort in prior to recruitment. Get this wrong when you employ someone and you could find yourself ending up in hot water!


A contract of employment must be signed prior to commencement of any work. This vital document is legally binding between you and the employee. It not only sets out things like rates of pay and expectations for work, but also provides information on company policies and how things like misconduct and grievances will be handled.


You will also need to consider policies and procedures based around any benefits, extras or facilities you offer such as:


Smoking policy
Claiming Expenses
Travel policy
Medical Appointment policy
Lateness policy
Parking policy


There are many other policies that may be needed that aren’t listed, however simply put, whatever is expected of your employee, whatever you offer your employee and whatever rules you want your workforce to follow, there must be a policy and clear procedure in place, to protect yourself from any breaches.


More often than not a business will incorporate all policies and procedures in an employee handbook. In a world where “Where there’s a blame, there’s a claim” is a renowned catchphrase and people are encouraged to take legal action whenever they can, having an employment contract and a supplementary employee handbook in place is essential to protect your business from any form of employment claim.


To ensure you are fully compliant and up to date with all employment legislation, it is advisable to seek advice from an employment law solicitor.


4. Employee checks


Employing someone who is not eligible to work in the UK is a costly mistake for any business owner to make, It is important to note that you as the employer are responsible for ensuring your workforce are eligible to work, not your employees.


The most obvious way to check is to obtain a valid passport, however a full list of acceptable documents can be found on the Gov.UK website. Remember it is your responsibility, so make sure you check the validity of any identification or proof of eligibility to work in the UK. A signed copy should be kept permanently on record and stored securely.


If your industry requires it, you will also need to carry out a DBS (formerly CRB) check. Once again the onus is on you to make sure this check is completed to avoid any hefty fines.


5. Added responsibility


When you employ an extra pair of hands you are also taking on extra responsibility. Whilst they are “on the clock” you are responsible for their safety and well being. Dependent on the nature of your business and your industry you may need to consider:


  • First Aid training

  • Fire training

  • Health and Safety / Risk Assessments


This is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything you must consider, formulate and implement as part of becoming an employer. Whether you employ a team of 2 or 200, the requirements by law remain the same.


If you would like more help, advice or guidance on what you must consider when employing a member of staff for the first time, then get in touch with our team. PBT have a wealth of knowledge in this area and are here to support your business and help it grow.


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